Lawn mower owners getting cash back
Manufacturers settle class-action suit that alleged they lied about the horsepower of gas-powered lawnmowers.
Spring has finally arrived, and with it the obligation to get the yard back in shape. This year consumers have another reason to be thankful for their lawn mowers: a class-action lawsuit settlement that entitles many buyers to a check and possibly a warranty extension.
The lawsuit, filed last May in federal court in Wisconsin, claimed that advertisements for more than 20 gas-powered lawn mower brands exaggerated their horsepower.
People can submit a claim if they purchased certain lawn mowers containing an engine with up to 30 horsepower between Jan. 1, 1994, and April 12, 2010.
Your lawn mower is included if your engine was manufactured by Briggs & Stratton, Honda, Kawasaki, Kohler, Tecumseh or Toro. Or, your lawn mower is included if it was manufactured by Deere, EHP, Honda, Husqvarna, MTD, Sears or Toro. For a list of brands manufactured by those companies and a claim form, see the settlement Web site.
Under the settlement, consumers who submit claim forms can receive up to $35 for every eligible walk-behind lawn mower they own, and up to $75 for every eligible riding mower. Consumers who own mower with a Briggs & Stratton, Toro, Tecumseh, TecumsehPower, Kawasaki, or Kohler engine that was under a manufacturer's warranty when purchased can also receive a one-year warranty extension.
Specifically, the lawsuit claimed that the defendants sold "identical, but differently and misleadingly labeled, engines at different prices -- with higher prices for engines labeled with purported higher horsepower." In other words, the companies took two identical engines, slapped different labels on them, and sold them at significantly different prices.
The suit also claimed that several of the companies created a so-called "Power Labeling Task Force," a group that they used to plan and organize the conspiracy.
The defendants have denied any wrongdoing.
Claim forms from consumers are due by Aug. 31. Consumers have one year following final approval of the settlement to submit claim forms for a warranty extension.
Related reading at ConsumerAffairs.com:
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